ACC Leadership Forum Focuses on Empowering Leaders to Improve CV Care

Growing leaders and empowering professionals to improve health care is a consistent theme of ACC’s Leadership Forum, which kicked-off in Orlando, FL, on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

Participants heard from ACC President-Elect Mary Norine Walsh, MD, FACC, about her personal leadership journey and what it means to lead “without title.” She highlighted six attributes – intellectuality, sociability, emotionally, personability, physicality and morality – common among those who influence without authority. She encouraged new and emerging leaders to reflect back on their own leadership journey and the times when they exhibited these attributes. Walsh’s talk was followed by a panel discussion on leadership values and professionalism featuring ACC President Richard A. Chazal, MD, FACC, Eileen M. Handberg, PhD, ARNP, FACC, BOG Chair A. Allen Seals, MD, FACC, and ACC Vice President C. Michael Valentine, MD, FACC. Attendees were presented with a series of scenarios that challenged leadership and professionalism and were able to engage in an interactive discussion with the panelists about the best solutions.

Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, U.S. Army, retired, started day two of the forum with a focus on leaving a legacy, growing leaders and building teams. Hertling defined leadership as “the art of understanding motivations, influencing people, building teams and communicating purpose in order to accomplish stated goals while improving the profession.” He noted that failure in leadership usually occurs “when you get up to the point of taking action but there is no one there to drive it to finality.”

He credited the ACC for its leadership among medical specialties in tackling the subject of professionalism, while also citing the Army leadership model of “Be, Know, Do.” Under the Army model, he highlighted character, presence and intellect as key leadership attributes. He also pointed out the need for leaders to meet a series of competencies that fall under three main categories of “leads, develops and achieves.” He closed by stressing the need for the College to have “growing the next generation” at the top of its competency list going forward. To do this successfully, he underscored the importance of developing trust, setting standards, assigning responsibility, upholding accountability and growing teams by teaching, coaching, counseling and training. “If you want a seat at the table, you have to have table manners,” he said.

Hertling’s keynote was followed by a series of breakout sessions intended to help emerging leaders identify and set values, further understand the elements of professionalism and learn from established leaders in the field. Speakers, including former ACC President John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, Board of Governors Chair A. Allen Seals, MD, FACC, Board of Trustees member Dipti Itchhaporia, MD, FACC, future Finance Committee Chair Howard T. Walpole Jr., MD, MBA, FACC, and Governance Committee Chair Athena Poppas, MD, FACC, talked about the importance of mentors, ways to align individual and institutional values, and leaving a leadership legacy. BOG Chair-Elect B. Hadley Wilson, MD, FACC moderated questions from the audience in live time.

“Leadership isn’t a straight line, it’s a circle,” Poppas said. “Just when you think you’ve got it, something new comes up.”


The 2017 Cardiovascular Summit and Leadership Forum is taking place Jan. 26 – 28 in Orlando, FL. Follow the action on Twitter via @ACCCardioEd and #CVSummit.

Keywords: CV Summit and Leadership Forum, Counseling, Delivery of Health Care, Goals, Leadership, Learning, Mentors, Mentors, Motivation, Professional Role, Social Responsibility


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